Unemployment rate down to 5.9pc. The number of people of working age reached 8.979m in 2016

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The employment rate for people of working age increased in 2016 by 0.2 percentage points against the previous year, to 61.6% and the number of people of working age stood at 8.979 million, according to the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Tuesday.

In this context, of the nearly 9 million people active on the labour market, about 8.5 million were employed and 530,000 were unemployed.

Overall, the unemployment rate was of 5.9%, down against 2015, when it recorded a percentage of 6.8%. The highest unemployment rate (20.6%) was recorded among young people aged between 15 and 24 years. The unemployment rate was only 3.1% for people with higher education.

By residence, the average occupancy rate was higher in urban areas (62.6% versus 60.2% in rural areas).

By gender, the gap between the two unemployment rates was of 1.6 percentage points (6.6% for men and 5% for women) and by residence of 0.7 percentage points (6.3% in rural areas as compared to 5.6% in urban areas).

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